Selling Into the USA: Easier Than You Think

By: Jim Pettinger

Have you considered the potential benefits of exporting your company’s products into the United States? If not, you may be neglecting the largest, richest and most responsive market in the world – a market that lies right at British Columbia’s doorstep.

Export from CanadaUnfortunately, many Canadian small business owners and entrepreneurs are either confused or intimidated when they hear the words “export” or “international trade.” But with the right planning, small business owners in Canada can and should approach the U.S. like an extension of the Canadian market. Once you’ve developed some basic procedures for dealing with the international boundary, exporting to the U.S. can be both easy and lucrative.

A Huge and Receptive Market

The United States is a huge market of more than 300 million consumers who welcome foreign products. What’s more, the U.S. government is very cooperative when it comes to helping Canadian businesses get a foothold in U.S. markets.

As a Canadian business owner, you can readily obtain a B-1 visa that will enable you to travel within the U.S. for marketing and other business purposes for up to six months. And once you’ve gone through the appropriate security procedures (like basic fingerprinting and photographing), you can have access to fast-track border crossings unavailable to most other visitors.

The Canadian government has also instituted programs to help facilitate business across our southern border. In addition, Canadian businesses are generally well-respected in the U.S. and considered to be trustworthy. Canadian goods and services are often perceived to be of high quality and a “cut above” by U.S. customers.

Secret to Success: Think Domestic

The secret to successfully exporting your products or services to the U.S. is to “think domestic” by establishing a presence for your business in the United States. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical presence-you just need for your U.S. customers to perceive that your business has a presence south of the border.

In other words, you should organize all the logistics of your business so that American customers do not believe they will have any additional concerns in dealing with a Canadian firm. For example, they need to know that they can deal in U.S. dollars and have their products shipped from or returned to a U.S. address. All of your communications, logistics and other activities should be handled from a real or virtual U.S. branch office or warehouse.

Regardless of whether your U.S. branch or warehouse is real or virtual, having a U.S. presence will pay big dividends in cost savings, response time and control. You can plan ahead to anticipate storage of trade show booths and the purchase of collateral materials in the U.S., as well as for returns and repairs. And you can avoid headaches by shipping your products, literature and other material directly through your nearest U.S. port of entry.

It’s also crucial that you get to know the U.S. marketplace first-hand. Many Canadians think they know everything about the U.S. through what they see and hear in the media, but you can’t just start advertising to Americans from your Canadian base and expect immediate success. You need to spend some time with your “boots on the ground” conducting first-person research in potential new market areas in the U.S.

Also, remember that the United States is a huge market, so you must focus your limited resources. (Related article: Focus, focus, focus). Most Canadian success stories in the U.S. result from niche, rather than broad, marketing efforts. Your company’s specific niche market in the U.S. consists only of those prospects you can reasonably afford to reach.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

U.S. Logistics Feats During the Holidays

Could your company  hire 95,000 part time workers within 90 days?

by Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

According to an article in USA Today, UPS will be hiring an additional 95,000 seasonal workers this holiday shopping season, and FedEx will add 50,000. In addition, major retailers such as Walmart, Target and Macy’s will also be hiring in the tens of thousands. Not to mention Amazon. These are some of America’s great companies that routinely accomplish astounding feats of logistics every day. At UCanTrade, we’re just happy to play a small part in this dynamic and rewarding industry.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Why is Canada’s Thanksgiving different from the U.S.A.’s?

While their dinner tables are dressed the same, ironically the reported reason Canadian’s had “first petitioned [to even have] the holiday was to celebrate their luck at not being American.”

In the mid-19th century there was an urgent ‘crisis of faith’ exacerbated by ‘Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species’, prompting protestant ministers in Upper Canada to establish a religious holiday to give Thanks to god’s bounty and reignite the Christian faith. Later on Thanksgiving took on new meaning as Canadians expressed their thanks for not being drug into the U.S. Civil War.

While it’s reportedly true the turkey and trimmings idea was spawned from the U.S.A, each of the great North American nations have their own Thanksgiving history – intertwined, yet unique.

At UCanTrade, Inc. it is our privilege to facilitate Canada / U.S.A. cross-border enterprise and we extend to our Canadian colleagues and friends our warmest wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving 2017!!!

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source: Written by Olivia B. Waxman, October 6, 2017, “The Surprising Reason Canadian Thanksgiving Is Different From the U.S. Version”)

 

The holiday shopping season is fast approaching

Are you ready for the 2017 peak holiday selling season?

The bad news is that it has already started. The good news is that it now lasts until February. Whether you are selling direct to consumers, or supplying retailers or wholesalers, your plans should really be already in place.

The U.S. and Canadian economies are strengthening and consumer confidence is high. The loonie is still relatively weak against the U.S. dollar, so the USA should probably be a primary target. However, it’s not all gravy – competition will be more fierce than ever, and shipping costs may be higher, especially since UPS has recently announced “surge pricing”, or what it calls a “peak shipping charge”. This will affect package shipping charges for the peak periods November 19th to December 2nd and December 17th to December 23rd. The per-parcel surcharge in 2017 will be nominal while they assess the results.

There has never been a better or more exciting time to broaden your market to take advantage of the newest trends in marketing and logistics.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Peace Arch Monument

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who lives and/or works as we do, in Ferndale just south of Blaine, WA and/or (South) Surrey, British Columbia (a suburb of Vancouver, B.C.), who does not know where and what IS the Peace Arch Monument.

While many know and recognize the Peace Arch as a prominent, brilliant white archway that sits in the middle of a shared cross-border park and marks the international border crossing between the United States and Canada, few know its rich and relevant history.

Dedicated on September 6th, 1921 (… the same date the Mayflower left England in 1620), the Peace Arch ‘commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814′, ending the war of 1812 between Great Britain (Canada is a commonwealth nation, formally the Great Britain Commonwealth) and the United States. It continues today to be a symbol of peace all along the pacific corridor.

Fun Fact: A piece of wood from the Mayflower was placed inside the Peace Arch during its construction. It’s situated behind the corresponding bronze plaque displayed on the outside of the arch.

Watch this excerpt  – or better yet, the whole documentary(!) produced by the International Peace Arch Association’s* called, “The Peace Arch Rises” and learn more about “Cascadia’s” iconic landmark of unity.

(Excerpt starts at 2:06; Dedication at 8:24; Full Documentary – 22:58)

*Formerly known as the United States Canada Peace Arch Association (USCPAA)  Copyright 1996-2016.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

 

The Loonie – A Hindrance or An Opportunity?

Whether it was to catch a cheaper flight from Bellingham to Las Vegas or to shop at an I-5 outlet mall, since 2013 many British Columbians were flocking to the nearest lower-mainland border crossing and travelling to the states in search of a good deal.

Canadian dollar the loonieHowever, a weakened Loonie curbed many Canadian shoppers who’d been making the trip south of the border to stay home. Indeed throughout Washington State’s Whatcom County, retailers in border towns like Sumas, Blaine, Lynden and further south to Ferndale and Bellingham have seen dramatic drops in Canadian shoppers since 2013 (BPRI Winter 2017 Brief: Changes in Canadian Shopping Visits in Northwest Washington, 2013 to 2016).

Interestingly though the loonie has rallied in value to a little over 80 cents to the American dollar. Will we see a surge in cross-border activity again here in Whatcom County? We hope so! However, even in light of recent news, there’s more to the ‘cross-border currency’ story than shopping. Like SELLING! CADUSD20yrs

Historically the USD has dominated over the Loonie as reflected in this 20 year chart. (Source)

A paradigm shift. Can Canadians consider the exchange rate between the Canadian Dollar (CAD) – USA Dollar (USD) not as a hindrance, but rather as an opportunity? They should! Here’s why.

Assuming all the proverbial ducks are in a row, ‘I’s dotted and ‘T’s crossed, the savvy B.C. business owner and entrepreneur stands to earn at least 20% more on their U.S. sales in part due to the favorable exchange rate.

“Here are the simple facts” says UCanTrade, Inc. president and dual citizen, Jim Pettinger: “(1) most U.S. land border crossings have been upgraded and are fully open for Canadian goods and people, (2) each sale you make for US$100 nets you C$120 or more, (3) your business presence in the U.S. can lead to a green card and dual-citizen status if you wish , and (4) American buyers (a) love Canadian goods, (b) have double the available money of their Canadian counterparts and (c) make their buying decisions at least  three times as fast.”

If history is an indicator then a long-term outlook is for a weak Loonie. Canadian companies need to immediately seize the opportunity to stake a position in the lucrative U.S. market. With careful planning, the initial cost can be minimal, but the payoff could be enormous.

Interested in learning more about doing business in the USA? Attend our next DBUSA Seminar &/or download this whitepaper “Ten Tips for Better Border Business”.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Private business ownership is on the decline

Private business ownership is on the decline (with one possible exception – boomers and seniors)

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

According to many sources, private business ownership in the USA (and likely everywhere) is declining. Many reasons are cited, but our experience indicates increasing complexity and risk in two areas: technology and legal burden/liability. The former requires greatly increased up-front investment in people, education, equipment and software, all of which quickly depreciate; while the latter means more government and higher insurance premiums plus various other related costs. Both also require a greatly increased share of management time. Our favorite bastion of free enterprise is Texas, which has published this related article, Entrepreneurship on the Decline.

One possible exception to this trend is the number of boomers and seniors forming businesses, not only because they have the know-how and desire, but also because most feel they will need the extra income to “retire” and pay for medical expenses. One supporter of this trend is Wendy Mayhew who organizes the Wise 50 Over 50 Award and also provides other services for Canadian “Seniors in Business”.

One quibble we have in this context is with the deliberately confusing use of politically correct or misleading/misdirecting terms. “Entrepreneurs” don’t have legal liabilities; business owners do. And related, we would like to see more encouragement of “wealth creation” and less of “job creation”. We would also like to see the increasingly used term “Free Market” share the stage with (and not supplant) “Free Enterprise”. As President Reagan titled his famous 1977 speech at Hillsdale College, Whatever Happened to Free Enterprise. Let’s call it like it is!

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

 

Another reason to expand/relocate your business to the USA?

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

According to a recent article in Business in Vancouver, a minority government in BC could be the “Worst fear for BC Business”. Besides creating more uncertainty, they indicate that the “Future of some major resource and infrastructure projects would be in doubt under a government dependent on co-operation of opposition parties.”

If they hadn’t already made plans based on the continuing weak loonie and increasingly strong U.S. economy, savvy BC business entrepreneurs will view this additional news as a strong signal to seek business and marketing opportunities in the USA. And, for those worried that the new president will close the border, our advice is GET OVER IT! While some trading relationships will obviously be reviewed, U.S. businesses and consumers will continue to consume foreign goods and services in even greater volume. Start planning right now to earn your fair share of the predicted extra-heavy fall and holiday buying season.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

 

The impact of e-commerce on truck manufacturing.

There’s little doubt digital online buying – a.k.a. the ‘Amazon Effect’, is impacting traditional retailers, especially since Walmart has stepped up to the plate to compete with Amazon in this competitive e-commerce space.  While consumers enjoy the benefits of their e-commerce ‘warfare’, another dynamic to the ‘Amazon Effect’ being brought into the forefront is truck and trailer manufacturing.

The supply procedure of any online purchase is run ‘not as a marathon but rather as a relay,’ says Bruce Sauer, of Truck/Body Builder. Adding, “Track coaches typically assign their fastest, most reliable runner to anchor the final leg of the race. It’s where many relays are won and lost”. His clever analogy highlights the importance and emphasis supply chain management and 3PL (third party logistics) companies are putting on the ‘final mile’ – the shipping, handling and delivery phase, of any e-commerce order.  Retailers need to be paying attention too.

Delivery vehicles are being re-designed to have better maneuverability at distribution and fulfillment centers moving away from full truckload models to more ‘metro-friendly freight patterns.’  Additionally, vehicles will likely be lighter and also get better gas mileage; ‘optimized’ so as to maximize cargo space and keep drivers comfortable, safe and able to conduct their job most efficiently. E-commerce has created a ‘trucking revolution’ that has really only just begun.

Since the physical size of the United States remains enormous, trailers will remain to play a vital role says Brent Yeagy, president and chief operating officer at Wabash National, a leading producer of commercial trucking equipment.  However, “E-commerce is not linear,” Yeagy says, “It’s growing exponentially. And its implications for the trucking industry promise to be more disruptive than 99% of us can even fathom at this point.”

Consumer expectations are also a big influencer. AlixPartners, LLP recently found in their 2016 Consumer Shipping Survey, seventy-five percent of e-commerce consumers are ‘greatly impacted’ by free shipping when they are making purchasing decisions. ‘Free and fast’ are what consumers expect and this expectation is another reason delivery vehicle manufacturers are rethinking their designs.

Simply put, a consumers’ last impression of a retailer is based upon their interaction with the ‘delivery company’.  An all out effort to streamline the supply chain down to redefining the design of the delivery truck, are underway.  Ultimately, consistent and reliable order fulfillment and delivery are imperative to any successful e-commerce retailer’s sustainability – especially in the competitive U.S. market.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source: Alix Partners, LLP article: “Final-Mile Delivery: What Do Online Shoppers Want? And How Should Retailers and Their Logistics Partners Respond?”)

(Source: Truck/Body Builder, “How the shipping model of e-commerce is impacting truck body and trailer manufacturers –the ‘Amazon effect’ of fast, free shipping re-routes truck body/trailer builders’ thinking”.)

People from these nations have no U.S. immigration worries

By: Jim Pettinger, President, UCanTrade, Inc.

JayTreaty of 1794

Jay Treaty of 1794 bestows U.S. Citizenship on Canadians with 50% or more native bloodline.

Bellingham, WA immigration attorney, Greg Boos, and his associate, Heather Fathali, of Cascadia Cross-Border Law are leading experts on the Jay Treaty of 1794. Per Boos, “This treaty between the United States and Great Britain was designed in part to mitigate the effects of the boundary line between Canada and the United States on the indigenous peoples who suddenly found their lands bisected. The rights and benefits originally set out by the Jay Treaty—now reflected by U.S. law in § 289 Immigration and Nationality Act—bestow upon Canadians with a 50% or better native bloodline theoretical privileges unparalleled by all but United States citizens to enter the U.S. and remain and work or engage in other lawful activity, virtually unrestricted by U.S. immigration laws. Qualifying Canadians, defined in statute as “American Indians born in Canada” may be of Indian, Inuit, or Métis background if bloodline can be documented.”

For more information, refer to a paper co-authored by Boos at the Border Policy Research Institute. Also, learn more about an upcoming Jay Treaty conference HERE. (Presented by Cascadia Cross-Border Law and Northwest Indian College.)